Permaculture is a system of permanent agriculture, which encourages you to analyse the land and community around you to make the best use of the resources available. At our five acre site, we have our own demonstration permaculture farm which we use to educate the children staying at our Halfway Homes and Drug Rehabilitation Centre and give them new skills which will help them to be valued and accepted within their family once they are resettled.
We were happy to be shortlisted for the Permaculture Magazine Prize for our work on Permaculture in 2018.
Our Permaculture farm
These crops currently include; matoke (a savoury banana), beans, mangoes, garlic, herbs, maize, tomatoes and aubergine (or egg plants as they are known in Uganda). We also rear animals at our land, namely goats and chickens.
We believe that learning sustainable farming skills are vital for a world with an increasing population and changing climate.
Our Permaculture demonstration farm helps children learn how you have to work together and come up with solutions to different challenges you face along the way. It also teaches the children that they can take action to combat climate change and live more sustainably with the planet.
Some of the topics we currently teach include;
- soil management and improvement,
- companion planting,
- natural pest management,
- how to study and make the most of your available land,
- terracing and A-frames,
- water harvesting,
- waste management and utilisation,
- animal care,
- farm design,
- the benefits of bamboo.
Overcoming the stigma of living on the streets
Children who have lived on the streets face long term stigma in their community, where they are seen as being “spoilt” due to their supposed links with crime and drugs. They are seen as a burden to their family and the community around them. Children from both our Halfway Homes and Drug Rehabilitation Centre learn permaculture skills and techniques which they can take home to share with their families once they are resettled; challenging negative viewpoints and helping these children to feel needed at home, helping their long term successful resettlement.
Taking Permaculture Home
Through our work, we have found that the main reason why children turn to the streets is due to poverty at home. Many of the children who we support ran away from home looking to make money on the streets to be able to earn a little money for food.
Some of the families, whose children ran away to the streets, have land that they own however, don’t know how to farm for a number of different reasons. For example, the parent who farmed could have passed away, leaving no knowledge behind on how best to tend to the land, or the family may not have the knowledge on which crops work best within their space; considering soil type and rainfall.
Because of this, we would like to trial a new Permaculture Training Programme; a programme that compliments our existing Business Empowerment Programme. It is designed specifically for vulnerable, rural families who could better sustain their families with some specialist support and guidan
Our Permaculture Teacher, Enock, carries out an initial assessment of the family’s land and finds out if they are interested developing their knowledge (aided by the child we have resettled home there). S.A.L.V.E. will supply some tools and seeds to help the family begin. Through individualised training, Enock will guide the family on which crops would be best planted for the most yield; effectively farming the land to its full potential and using the principles of permaculture.
By empowering the family to increase their farming outputs, they can then have a more varied diet and save money on purchasing food, thus helping to break the cycle of food poverty that often leads children to turn to the streets. The family will also be able to sell any surplus they may have in the local markets to increase their income, allowing the family to pay for their children’s school fees.
Check Out our Vegetable Orchestra!
Take a look at the incredibly talented children supported by S.A.L.V.E. who composed their own song and performed it with their very own vegetable orchestra!
The children wanted to do something different to highlight everything they have been learning about Permaculture sustainable farming (and how fun it can be), so they decided to use our demonstration farm to make a music video!
If you are feeling inspired by our work on permaculture (which we hope you are!) then please let us know if you would like to contribute to what we are doing – we have lots of ideas for how we would like to grow and develop this programme! Or just get in touch, to let us know what you think!Your feedback means a lot to us.
You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love to hear from you!